New York State Department of Health Recognizes World Breast Cancer Research Day

Department Highlights Awareness and Support Programs, and Educates Residents on Importance of Breast Cancer Research

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 18, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health recognizes World Breast Cancer Research Day, observed today and every August 18, by raising awareness of the significant impact that research has on treating, educating, and curing breast cancer.

"Cancer is a life changing diagnosis that places a physical, emotional, and financial toll on survivors and their families," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "Extensive research on breast cancer is extremely important and necessary because it can help survivors live full and healthy lives despite their diagnosis and challenges. Even though we have seen some progress over the years, too many people still suffer and die of breast cancer."

Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer except skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in New York State, with nearly 16,700 new cases and 2,500 deaths each year. Men also get breast cancer, but it is very rare. About 160 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in New York State.

Rates of cancer diagnoses and poor cancer outcomes are strongly linked to existing disparities in cancer relating to race and ethnicity. Some of these known disparities include the following:

  • Non-Hispanic Black individuals experience higher incidence rates of regional and distant stage disease for female breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer.
  • While non-Hispanic white women have the highest incidence rates of breast cancer, non-Hispanic Black women have the highest mortality rates, according to data on cancer incidence and mortality in New York.

The Department has established extensive programs and initiatives to help educate New Yorkers about breast cancer, as well as provide support to individuals and families who are impacted by the disease.

The New York State Cancer Services Program (CSP) offers free breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer screening, diagnostic testing, and referral to treatment to eligible uninsured and underinsured people. The program is administered through 21 CSP grantees covering every county and borough in New York State. Grantees focus their efforts on reaching individuals who lack access to services and who bear a disproportionate burden of cancer to improve cancer outcomes and reduce health disparities.

The Cancer Surveillance Improvement Initiative is designed to answer questions of many New Yorkers about the cancer incidence in their communities. It provides data tables and maps of cancer incidence. CSII also provides information on cancer, its possible causes, and how to interpret cancer data and graphs.

The New York State Cancer Registry participates in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Program of Cancer Registries and the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, End Results and Epidemiology program to collect standardized information on all cancer cases in New York. This information allows researchers, doctors, policymakers, public health professionals, and members of the public to monitor the burden of cancer, evaluate cancer prevention and control programs, and identify focus areas for research and policy development.

The New York State Cancer Registry also actively collaborates on research studies with a goal of improving cancer outcomes and reducing health disparities. Current studies examine racial disparities in diagnosis and outcomes for breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer. These research studies involve collaborations with researchers throughout the U.S. and seek to improve care and outcomes for all New Yorkers diagnosed with cancer. In addition, the New York State Cancer Registry participates in the Virtual Pooled Registry- Cancer Linkage System (VPR-CLS) that allows researchers to conduct minimal risk linkage studies with multiple central cancer registries.

The New York State Cancer Consortium is a statewide network made up of more than 200 members from the public and private sectors whose missions are aligned with reducing cancer incidence and mortality.

The Department continues to encourage New Yorkers to educate themselves about breast cancer, to get screened, and to urge their loved ones to do the same.

Enrolling in health care coverage can improve access to medical care and reduce the risk of illness, including cancer. To enroll in health coverage or to find out about financial assistance to lower the cost of health coverage, contact the NY State of Health at 1-855-355-5777 (TTY: 1-800-662-1220) or visit Resources | NY State of Health.

To find a nearby screening location, visit New York's Cancer Services Program.

The New York State Cancer Registry and cancer statistics can be found here.

More information on breast cancer, including, prevention, treatment, and resources can be found here.